“This school saved my son’s life.”

He went to Pre-K. The staff loved him and he loved them. He went to a summer program and was such a hit that the director calls every year asking if he will be back.

All of this changed when my son began to attend a charter school. My son’s first grade teacher told me that my son was always distracted, did not pay attention, was disinterested in classwork. I was told by his teacher he was irresponsible because his desk was a mess and he was always losing assignments and homework. Further, the teacher found Ossiel to be aggressive, unfriendly and hyper. She actually said he was a “trouble-maker” and a “bad boy.”

There was an incident at school where my son was hit in the head by another student with a lunch box, knocking out his two front teeth. His teacher said that this was an accident and refused to look at a medical report by a dentist about the damage done to my son’s mouth. I don’t think this was an accident. I think the teacher did not like my son so did not care. I also do not believe this teacher said one positive word to my son in the entire year he was in her class. Not one positive word. Instead, she insisted he be evaluated for mental disabilities.

I asked that my child be moved to a different class and was told this was against school policy. To make matters worse, my son was loaded down with hours of homework, was expected to write paragraphs before he could barely write a sentence, and was given word problems in math before he could read. He began to pretend to be sick to get out of going to school. His grades for the year were C’s, D’s and F’s and by the end of first grade, my son had no self esteem and hated school.

Thanks to the Step-Up for Students Scholarship, I was given financial assistance and was now able to enroll my son and my daughter at H.E.L.P. Miami. By the end of the first week, I had my son back! Ossiel would get up early and was excited to go to school. He even tried to go to school on days when he was not feeling well! (My son got mad in December because he found out that there would be two weeks of no school due to Christmas.) This is a major change.

I cannot say enough about Ossiel’s second grade teacher. Ms. Carolina is cheerful, patient, encouraging, easy to work with and always has time for me. She is an angel that God sent to bring my son back to me and to the world. Under her instruction, Ossiel is learning so much. He has learned about the planets and the human body. He does wonderful art that he proudly shows off. His reading and math have improved because the teacher is giving him material that is both challenging but is also at his level. He no longer gets “packets” of homework that I would spend hours explaining to him.

Since Ossiel has enrolled at H.E.L.P. Miami his test scores show an increase of 1 to 2 grade levels in core subjects and he has made the honor roll for the first time in his life–TWICE! I always knew he was smart and good and now my son also knows that he is smart and good. H.E.L.P. Miami confirms this every day.Another aspect of H.E.L.P. Miami that I would like to mention is that the staff encourage parental communication. If I have a question or comment, I get proper attention and do not feel “brushed off” as in the charter school. H.E.L.P. Miami staff also go to great lengths to keep parents informed of day-to-day activities. If my son gets hurt on the playground, I am called. If my son has an upset with another child, I am told. If my son acts out, he is not treated like some monster, he is allowed to give his side of the story, and his input is invited to solve the problem. I find the teachers and principal to be very professional and fair when addressing the children. It would be wonderful if H.E.L.P. Miami became the educational standard for all private, public and charter schools to live up to. This school saved my son’s life.

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